What piece of art changed your life? How did it affect you?
I guess I was twelve when Neil Young came into my life. So I have to honor him, even over all the other renegades in music, art, and film that changed my life because he was the first, the first real iconoclast. There was Al Green, and there was Carole King, but Neil Young just seemed so tortured, and so in love, he didn’t even seem to care that much about being on key. I still think he’s written some of the greatest love songs of all time. “Pardon My Heart” on Zuma still slays me. “Old Man” is a love song too. I used to sing and play it on my Yamaha guitar for my dad. He would tear up and say something about his dad, who he always called his old man. I would feel frustrated because I wanted him to see that the song was coming from me to him. I can see now that it was a real testament to the greatness of Neil Young that he just inserted himself into my father’s psyche, a man obsessed with Beethoven but not a lover of rock or pop or folk or anything I was listening to at the time. Thirty-five years later, I’m still influenced by the courage of Neil Young, always trying something new, always returning to where he started, like a migrating bird heading back to the wilds of Canada where he was born.
Anne Watts and her band, Boister, have released six acclaimed discs—two of them produced by the legendary Jim Dickinson—and appeared at The Kennedy Center, the North By Northeast Music Festival, and various universities and museums. Boister's version of "Amsterdam" appeared on Next, a Jacques Brel tribute disc that also featured David Bowie, Nina Simone, and Scott Walker. The band's silent film scores have been praised by the likes of Roger Ebert and performed at the Virginia and Maryland Film Festivals. Tomorrow night, Boister celebrates its 13th birthday with a special retrospective show at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson. Oysters will be shucked, cake will be cut, gifts will be given, and guests such as Liz Downing, Laure Drogoul, Caleb Stine, Jenny Keith, and David Beaudouin will join in the fun. This blogger will be there, too. Full disclosure: I'm married to Anne.